If you want the hair on the back of my neck to bristle and stand erect, just offer me a small dose.
Rejection. Criticism. Not my favorite friends regardless of who they come from. My personality makes it difficult for me to receive criticism (a form of rejection) from others. I like to think I’m always right even though I’m not. I imagine my way of doing things is always superior even though that’s not true either. And when I’m criticized, my first instinct is to lash out.
God has been working on this attitude over the years, and I’ve finally come to realize that critiques are often offered in love and designed to be constructive. So while I don’t always respond as I should, I do a much better job than I once did.
Jesus’ instruction on how to respond to rejection or criticism isn’t easy to stomach either. He too was rejected because he didn’t fit the picture of the Messiah. But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also (Matthew 5:39 NLT).
When criticism comes my way, I attempt to see it as aimed at a particular action of mine rather than at me—I try not to take it personally. This helps me view what the person has said objectively and allows me to learn from it even when the motive of the person giving it is flawed. After all, some who have criticized me or something I’ve done were not out to give constructive but rather destructive criticism. Fortunately, if I’ll respond correctly, God can take even what’s meant to destroy and use it to build me up emotionally and grow me spiritually.
Let criticism build you up rather than tear you down.
Prayer: Merciful God, when others attempt to tear us down with critical words, may we entrust those comments to You and allow You to build us up through them.
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